Luge Capital’s 2018 investment in Montreal’s Flinks has been awarded CVCA’s VC Regional Impact Award for Eastern Canada.
Flinks is an open-banking infrastructure to enable apps to connect with consumer bank accounts to verify account information and access banking history – with the consumer’s consent, of course.
Since the initial investment by Luge Capital and National Bank in June 2018, Flinks has grown its full-time employee headcount in Canada from 27 to 150 employees, or a 54% annual growth in headcount. Following the injection of new capital last year, Flinks plans to double its headcount to deliver on the growing need for better, more actionable financial data.
The product launched in 2017, around the same time the fintech sector started to gain traction. The Flinks’ founders knew they were on to something and sought out financing to improve and expand the platform.
In 2018, the Montreal-based company closed a $1.75 million seed round, led by Luge Capital alongside the National Bank of Canada, which supercharged its growth, including hiring a few dozen more people to make it happen. A $16.2 million Series A followed a year later, which helped the company continue its expansion, including a launch in the U.S.
In August 2021, Flinks announced a $103 million investment from National Bank, including $30 million in growth capital to fast-track its expansion across North America. The transaction provided National Bank with an 80% preferred share equity interest in the company.
Karim Gillani, a general partner at Luge Capital, first met Flinks when he was a senior M&A executive at PayPal. So, when he co-founded Luge Capital in early 2018, he re-engaged the fintech, and it became the firm’s first investment.
“We saw a big opportunity for Flinks to be the underlying utility company for the financial services sector in Canada,” Gillani says, likening it to owning the plumbing that delivers water to houses across the country.
Gillani also saw a strong team that had built a robust product with minimal resources. “And they moved quickly,” says Gillani, who also became a member of the Flinks’ board until his firm’s exit last year.
Flinks was founded by Yves-Gabriel Leboeuf, Frédérick Lavoie, and Julien Cousineau in 2016.